LONGMONT — You only get one chance to do anything for the first time.
The Mead High volleyball team’s one chance at a classic first arrives Friday at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament. As the program’s first squad to take the floor at the Denver Coliseum, the Mavericks will make history just by breaking their pre-match huddle.
No one knows what will happen next, certainly not the debuting Mavericks. But whatever happens, they intend to make it count.
“Our season goals were to win league, win regionals and finish,” Mead first-year head coach Nicole Tycksen said. “We’re praying that it’s more than just getting to state, that we compete. The girls are ready to play. We celebrated meeting our goals and now we’ve recharged and made our goal to compete.”
Seeded seventh in their state tournament debut, the Tri-Valley League champion Mavericks (21-4) will be the middle team in the Pool 2. They will face second-seeded Ponderosa Mustangs (21-4) from the 5A/4A Continental league and 11th-seeded Niwot Cougars (19-5) from down Highway 119 in the Northern League.
Ponderosa mopped the floor with the Mavericks 3-0 at regionals a year ago, slamming the door on the Mead girls’ 2013 season one win short of the state tournament.
“We want revenge,” sophomore defensive specialist Macy Bourn said. “We were that close to getting to state last year and we got second. This year we want to show everyone that we deserve to be there.”
Hosting the Region 7 tournament this season, the Mavericks weren’t taking any chances of a repeat. They made quick work of Evergreen and Montezuma-Cortez to win the regional title and secure the coveted state berth that had eluded them.
While parents show their excitement with team lunches and cupcakes brandishing inspirational quotes, the Mavericks have been all business this week leading up to the final tournament of the season. For the team’s eight seniors, like setter Cassie Hedger, the state tournament will also be the final tournament of their prep careers.
“We went over our new goals at practice,” Hedger said. “We want to make sure that we leave everything out on the court so we can feel accomplished and proud, and we won’t have any regrets.”
Their seed will allow the Mavericks to scout Ponderosa and Niwot when they play one another in the third match on Friday. The Mavericks will play Ponderosa in the seventh match on Friday and face Niwot in the third match on Saturday. Play begins at 8 a.m. both days and the winner of each pool will advance to the semifinals following the completion of pool play on Saturday.
Mavericks outside hitter Mikayla Morton, a vocal leader despite being a junior on an eight-senior roster, has been to the Denver Coliseum only once. That was for a rodeo. That’s the closest any of the 14 Mavericks have been to the state tournament. That will change for all of them on Friday.
“We’re honestly just ready to go out and show what we can do,” Morton said. “We’re a little nervous because we don’t know what’s coming ahead of us. But we’re definitely excited. We’re definitely ready.”
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